The opioid crisis in the United States has led to increased HCV infection among younger populations of people who inject drugs (PWID) and other vulnerable populations, who often seek care at community health centers. Recent evidence suggests that health center patients benefit from receiving hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening outside of the CDC recommendations of risk-factors and patients born between 1945 and 1965, referred to as the “baby boomer” birth cohort. Early treatment for HCV can lead to decreased transmission rates and increased cure rates with advances in oral medications.
This NNCC Learning Collaborative guided participants through the steps to onboard a universal HCV screening program for patients 18 and older, while providing onsite treatment and behavioral health services. Speakers provided tools to critically assess the costs and benefits associated with enhanced, comprehensive care. Dr. Michael Halpern, Associate Professor at the Temple University College of Public Health, discussed the HCV cost-benefit calculator developed with Public Health Management Corporation and NNCC to evaluate results from universal screening and enhanced care at health centers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This learning collaborative ran from March to April of 2019.
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